Kensie and Joey have been living in a van since 2018, after making the decision to embrace something new and different. Having bought a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter, they spent a long time researching how to convert the empty shell into a fabulous and comfortable home on wheels. Now, the couple has started a company to help others do the same.
Their portable house includes a kitchen large enough for the two of them to comfortably stand and cook in without being in each other’s way, and features a granite composite kitchen sink with a faucet, under sink filtration, a two-burner gas stovetop, a fridge and plenty of storage space. The back area of the van converts from day mode to night mode, with a table that comes down and sits on two lips that extend from a seating bench. When it is fully unfolded it gives them the space close to a king-sized bed. The van is also fitted with a solar setup, has a USB charging port and homely finishing touches like warm lighting and curtains.
“The process of building the van taught us so many new skills that I never thought I would master, including wood-working, building an off-grid electrical system, plumbing, carpentry, and most importantly, patience. It was a long process and we were building outside in the heat of the Phoenix summer with highs up to 110 degrees. We had to be patient both with ourselves while learning new skills, and with each other. But we found out that we work really well as a team, despite little spur-of-the-moment arguments!” Kensie told Lonely Planet.
Following the success of their own build, Joey and Kensie have started helping other people realise their van-living dreams, and have a dedicated website that offers advice and some vlogs on the process. People can even get in touch with them to have Kensie and Joey build the van.
“The best advice we can give to someone who is looking into van life is to do it for the sake of loving life and wanting the most out of it. Platforms like Instagram definitely have a way of glorifying it, but it's not always picture perfect. It can be messy at times, and it's certainly not a means of escaping your problems. It's still life, but your day to day looks a bit different than most people. If it's something you really want to do, then absolutely find a way to do it. There is never a perfect time to make a major life change, so might as well get on with it” Kensie said.
More information on their van builds is available at Kensie and Joey’s official website.